Renewable energy passed another milestone in the US

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"Electricity generated from renewables surpassed coal in the United States for the first time in 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced Monday.

Renewables also surpassed nuclear generation in 2022 after first doing so last year.

Growth in wind and solar significantly drove the increase in renewable energy and contributed 14% of the electricity produced domestically in 2022."


The lower levelized cost of renewable energy production is what is driving this trend. Wind power has dropped 70% and solar an incredible 90%. In many parts of the country, it is the most affordable form of power.
 
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"Electricity generated from renewables surpassed coal in the United States for the first time in 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration announced Monday.

Renewables also surpassed nuclear generation in 2022 after first doing so last year.

Growth in wind and solar significantly drove the increase in renewable energy and contributed 14% of the electricity produced domestically in 2022."


The lower levelized cost of renewable energy production is what is driving this trend. Wind power has dropped 70% and solar an incredible 90%. In many parts of the country, it is the most affordable form of power.
I really find this extremely hard to believe. Maybe there are vast solar arrays and wind farms that Im just not aware of in my neck of the woods or any places that I travel to.
 
I really find this extremely hard to believe. Maybe there are vast solar arrays and wind farms that Im just not aware of in my neck of the woods or any places that I travel to.
The AP is not known for hyperbole. This data is from the Dept. of Energy. How often do you travel out west?
 
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Am I reading this right? Wind/solar contribution is 14% yet that is higher than coal and nuclear?
 
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The AP is not known for hyperbole. This data is from the Dept. of Energy. How often do you travel out west?
Actually, the AP gets only an average of 68.8% rating for factual grade. D +. That was from a sample of reports.

It's still passing, I think.
 
The AP is not known for hyperbole. This data is from the Dept. of Energy. How often do you travel out west?
The government continues to erode trust and is constantly being caught playing political games for big corporations. A LONG time ago the Dept of Energy 'intervened' in work that I was doing with solar at a start up, and the games they played as a young guy really set the tone for my distrust which seems to get worse and worse every year sadly. When you see people in a government position suddenly landing top tier paying jobs in the industry they are supposed to protect people/regulate...it's hard not to.

To answer your question though, prior to Covid I was often along the west coast at various major cities from tip to tail. I flew over to my point of destination though, and being within mostly the city limits or business parks just outside of those cities I likely did not see massive solar farms like I would have to imagine exist to create such an alarming amount of energy.

This topic reminds me that I have some battery bank maintenance I need to do :)
 
There was a concerted move by fossil fuel lobbyists to discredit solar and they succeeded in some states. They threw big bucks at candidates that supported their opposition. Ironically, this was in states that could benefit the most from solar. Now the tides are changing. Attacks and disinformation erode govt. trust. Social media and a gullible population have made this much worse but the economics are hard to argue with.
 
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And remember all the infrastructure in place producing in 2022 was pre IRA. It often goes understated what a monumental commitment to green energy the IRA is.
 
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And remember all the infrastructure in place producing in 2022 was pre IRA. It often goes understated what a monumental commitment to green energy the IRA is.
The EIA report goes into detail about the implications and outcomes of the IRA.
 
Still leaves something else responsible for the other almost 80%, no?
Yup, natgas is more like 40%, with coal, nukes and renewables at about 20% each.
 
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Usually, these numbers for solar (about 4% energy in 2022) exclude rooftop solar. The article does describe 'utility solar' so total solar could be a little higher.

Also, solar is expected to grow at least 5X over the next decade (to roughly 20% by itself). Most of these projections in the past have been too conservative.

If wind doubled in that time, we could easily have a roughly 50% renewable grid in 2033, 70% zero emission with legacy nukes.
 
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Usually, these numbers for solar (about 4% energy in 2022) exclude rooftop solar. The article does describe 'utility solar' so total solar could be a little higher.

Also, solar is expected to grow at least 5X over the next decade (to roughly 20% by itself). Most of these projections in the past have been too conservative.

If wind doubled in that time, we could easily have a roughly 50% renewable grid in 2033, 70% zero emission with legacy nukes.
The EIA projections explore several scenarios.
 
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Add in hydro, geothermal, and biomass for the total renewable energy. That makes about 21%. But if I am reading this right, I don't think renewables have passed the nuclear and coal combined yet. It looks like this will happen in the next five years.

The EIA projections have the usual problem.... they assume trends based on current incentives (which expire in the future) and generally do not project technology cost reduction correctly (i.e. linear models versus exponential models). They do this by LAW (versus the often assumed incompetence), bc projecting govt policy after expiration is deemed improper for a govt agency.

AS such, the projections DO have IRA effects in them, but are probably useless after IRA expiry (2032)... look at projected EV adoption (which plateaus then) for confirmation of the above.
 
The problem with Wind and Solar is that they cannot be counted on to deliver the needed megawatts at any given time. Sure on a sunny windy day you can generate a lot, but on dark windless days that generated amount can drop significantly. You need to have a generation facility that you can count on as the Grid needs to meet peak demand. And you don't just flip a switch and fire up a coal or gas fired plant. Unless we expand nuclear, there is no way to offline all fossil fuel plants. Rate payers are not going to want to Pay to cover the cost of a gas fired plant that does not generate enough revenue to pay for itself. If you are going to have them you need to burn enough to generate enough to cover its operation and build cost.
 
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Yup, natgas is more like 40%, with coal, nukes and renewables at about 20% each.
OK, so with solar and wind accounting for 14%....and NAT GAS @ 40%; Coal and nukes at 20% each; how can the claim in that report that "renewables surpassed coal for the first time in 2022"????

Renewable energy passed another milestone in the US


 
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The problem with Wind and Solar is that they cannot be counted on to deliver the needed megawatts at any given time. Sure on a sunny windy day you can generate a lot, but on dark windless days that generated amount can drop significantly. You need to have a generation facility that you can count on as the Grid needs to meet peak demand. And you don't just flip a switch and fire up a coal or gas fired plant. Unless we expand nuclear, there is no way to offline all fossil fuel plants. Rate payers are not going to want to Pay to cover the cost of a gas fired plant that does not generate enough revenue to pay for itself. If you are going to have them you need to burn enough to generate enough to cover its operation and build cost.
Ratepayers will love renewables, they are cheaper to operate. Obviously the answer is to overbuild the renewables infrastructure, much like has been done with FF. Combined with storage (several options, not just batteries) there's no good reason all of our energy couldn't come from renewables and nuclear. The only reason things aren't 100% renewables is that sun and wind cannot be monopolized. There's just so much profit in FF, it will be hard to dethrone the kings.
 
OK, so with solar and wind accounting for 14%....and NAT GAS @ 40%; Coal and nukes at 20% each; how can the claim in that report that "renewables surpassed coal for the first time in 2022"????



As stated earlier, hydro, biomass, etc. also have to be included with wind and solar as renewables for a total of about 21%.
 
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OK, so with solar and wind accounting for 14%....and NAT GAS @ 40%; Coal and nukes at 20% each; how can the claim in that report that "renewables surpassed coal for the first time in 2022"????

Renewable energy passed another milestone in the US


Because hydro and geothermal, biomass, etc. have always been classified as renewable. We just now have the fast growing inputs from wind and solar
 
Since I live in an area that is fed by 100% renewable with surplus to spare that cannot be sent over the grid due to circuit limitations, it is possible. We do not have any large solar farms but several run of the river hydro plants, a 100 MW nameplate wind farm, a 14 MW wind farm and a 75 MW biomass boiler with typically 30 days of fuel on the pad. If the grid issue could be fixed, there is another 160 MW of wind power ready to be installed. There are also a couple of older out of service 20 MW biomass plants that cant compete due to the grid limitation.

Much as I am not a fanboy of Elon Musk, definitely not a "teslarati", he recently posted and I tend to agree that a big chunk of the US residential housing can effectively be off grid with solar panels and home storage. I dont think it is that simple as not everyone has an ideal roof or property exposure for solar but its a lot more possible now than 10 years ago. It is interesting as one of my prior employers held many of the patents on distributed microgrids and was part of one of the first microgrids in an industrial park in Waitsfield VT in 2003. It was crude and was fed by mostly fossil CHP systems but I do not think anyone would have thought that the technology would be so advanced 20 years later. https://www.sustainablebusiness.com/2004/03/northern-power-systems-receives-doe-grant-30494/

IMO the missing link in most of the US is the lack of real time of use pricing down to the consumer level. With the exception of a few areas, consumers pay a flat fee for power no matter what the actual grid costs are. That is a two edged sword, the sellers of power have sign long term contracts to guarantee the power is there no matter what so they end up having to buy a hedge contracts to cover the possible high costs of power in the worst case scenario. That means there is big markup over grid power most of the time. On the other hand when grid power is expensive, the consumer has no incentive to reduce usage. Up until large deployment of storage, the amount of spinning generation had to equal the demand, if there was a short term imbalance, additional generation had to be added at a high cost. By adding more storage into the system, short term imbalances can be covered by storage. If real time pricing got down to the consumer level the consumer could elect to use less power when the prices are high and delay some use until later. They could also have home storage or a battery to grid connection to their EV to sell power back to the grid.
 
Yup, natgas is more like 40%, with coal, nukes and renewables at about 20% each.
For years I've been supposing that more BEV's plugged into the grid each night will provide higher base load for our nukes to throttle up. Perhaps that will go toward (non-solar) renewables now, even better. There's, what... 100 million cars in the USA, average age 11 years? Seems we could be a decade away from half of them being EV's, which if smartly managed for overnight charging, could really bring down our peak to average grid load ratio. That's before even discussing selling capacity back to the grid, simply managing charging times and rates across a large fleet by incentivizing off-peak usage.

What's your perspective on this?
 
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The EIA report includes a significant ramp-up of storage as part of mix in the long-range renewable projections.
 
Since I live in an area that is fed by 100% renewable with surplus to spare that cannot be sent over the grid due to circuit limitations, it is possible. We do not have any large solar farms but several run of the river hydro plants, a 100 MW nameplate wind farm, a 14 MW wind farm and a 75 MW biomass boiler with typically 30 days of fuel on the pad. If the grid issue could be fixed, there is another 160 MW of wind power ready to be installed. There are also a couple of older out of service 20 MW biomass plants that cant compete due to the grid limitation.

Much as I am not a fanboy of Elon Musk, definitely not a "teslarati", he recently posted and I tend to agree that a big chunk of the US residential housing can effectively be off grid with solar panels and home storage. I dont think it is that simple as not everyone has an ideal roof or property exposure for solar but its a lot more possible now than 10 years ago. It is interesting as one of my prior employers held many of the patents on distributed microgrids and was part of one of the first microgrids in an industrial park in Waitsfield VT in 2003. It was crude and was fed by mostly fossil CHP systems but I do not think anyone would have thought that the technology would be so advanced 20 years later. https://www.sustainablebusiness.com/2004/03/northern-power-systems-receives-doe-grant-30494/

IMO the missing link in most of the US is the lack of real time of use pricing down to the consumer level. With the exception of a few areas, consumers pay a flat fee for power no matter what the actual grid costs are. That is a two edged sword, the sellers of power have sign long term contracts to guarantee the power is there no matter what so they end up having to buy a hedge contracts to cover the possible high costs of power in the worst case scenario. That means there is big markup over grid power most of the time. On the other hand when grid power is expensive, the consumer has no incentive to reduce usage. Up until large deployment of storage, the amount of spinning generation had to equal the demand, if there was a short term imbalance, additional generation had to be added at a high cost. By adding more storage into the system, short term imbalances can be covered by storage. If real time pricing got down to the consumer level the consumer could elect to use less power when the prices are high and delay some use until later. They could also have home storage or a battery to grid connection to their EV to sell power back to the grid.

I'm not sure what "effectively off grid" means.

I would have loved to put in a storage battery when I had my array installed, but the price is prohibitive. It would have more than doubled the price for a 4-day backup (at 10 kwh/day). Even at our high electric prices, the ROI on my "investment" is 15-20 years (and no, I don't think of it as an investment in the $$ sense of the word).

Still, a 4-day battery back up wouldn't have gotten me thru some of the times the panels have been covered by snow and/or heavy cloud cover during winter. In no part of January, did I have a day of production that covered my usage. From January 20 until March 1 (2023), the array produced 2 days worth of energy total.

However, during summer, I expect the array to produce more than I use. And it will balance out over the long run. I will produce as much as I use over a year. I think that is what "effectively off grid" is alluding to. But, in my mind, that isn't the same thing so is a bit disingenuous.
 
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